{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


This week is brought to you by the blurry iPhone camera. This iPhone came back from the dead after an aquatic dunking so it was to be expected that something wouldn’t work.  In this case, the focus on the camera. One of these days I’ll carry the nice camera around with me.


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My Mother’s Day roses in my room. 🙂


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Note the pun above the picture. Haus Meister did some homebrewing the other night and thought the hop oils were pretty fun.  We quipped that they were “essential oils for guys.”


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T-K 42-Miss M. Facebook friends please forgive the repeat picture.  It’s one of my favorites from the week.

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Littlest fell asleep in the kids’ Poang chair from IKEA (dangerous store). So Rascal gently removed the cover and let her nap on the floor, and so she did until Posey Pie arrived. Posey’s saying “CHEESE.”


I had two requests for Mother’s Day.  I wanted time to use my sewing machine, which I was given on Sunday, and I wanted time to go to the buy/sell/trade used bookstore. Last night a dear friend and I headed out together to the bookstore, having to explain to our eager children, respectively, that it was MOM’s Night Out. 🙂 Our crew awaited the arrival of the new (to us) treasures and having been quite successful, we’re ready to start some summer reading! 🙂

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Of all the random things…

Because the latest homebrewed is about to be moved from secondary fermentation to the carbonation day, we were compelled to (gasp) go out and buy some beer.  That’s our cue to find the latest seasonal brews and yesterday Haus Meister happened upon this:

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“Peach Beer!” He tells me. “I think you’ll like it.”

“I bet I will,” I admit.  I like peach tea, peach jam, peach pie, and peaches.  So why not peach beer?

Then he took a bottle out of the box.



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We looked all over the box for an explanation for the design.  None. Judging by images on Google it’s probably something for Hallowe’en.  What an incredibly random label.

Thank you, Dogfish Head.  I will now be referring to you as Demon Coon Beer for the foreseeable future.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Strawberry time!

My sister and I had the same idea this week. It was time to can strawberries!IMG_1504

Very pretty. There’s nothing that says early summer like freshly picked strawberries. Unless, of course, it’s corn on the cob.


Miss M and Posey Pie, Early June, 2013 at the farmstand

When I snapped this picture, I thought to myself…

“What a difference a twelvemonth makes!”


Miss M, late May 2012 also at the farmstand

And yes, I really did use the word “twelvemonth.” I’m weird that way.

Some Happy around here this week includes

IMG_1450Smiles during tummy time!


And a teepee made of bamboo that is constantly endangered by the toddler set.


Trooper has a habit of checking out food magazines. He flips through my The English Home magazine to look at kitchens; he scours my Victoria magazine for the recipe section. Once while we stopped in the grocery store for peanut butter, I tried to speed down the aisle because for some reason the store organizer thought that peanut butter and jelly should be across from the Harlequin romance books. The magazines were also down the aisle and Trooper startled me by stopping suddenly and running back to the glossy mags. He pointed at one and I looked. It was a food mag with baked mac & cheese on the front–only his favorite meal ever!

In a nutshell, if there’s anything food to read about in the house, he’ll find it. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that he dug up the latest subscription to Draft that my sister and brother-in-law gave Haus Meister (the brewmaster) for Christmas last year.


Don’t kid yourself that he knows anything about beer. He’s interested in the hamburger bun. That’s his second favorite food.


When my sister and my niece start to cook strawberry pies or jam, it looks a lot like this:

When my little ones help, it looks something like this:

"This basket doesn't go upstairs without a fight."

“This basket doesn’t go upstairs without a fight.”


"Oops--think Mom will notice a missing quart of berries?"

“Oops–think Mom will notice a missing quart of berries?”

The mooshed into carpet uber-ripe strawberry stains did come up, thanks be to Hoover and Oxyclean carpet cleaner.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

We very much enjoyed our three-day weekend! We didn’t go on vacation or anything like that, but we had lots of fun in the kitchen.

Pretty Happy

On Labor Day we had a big birthday celebration for Haus Meister, whose birthday was technically yesterday but it was easier to get extended family together on Monday. In recent years it has been pretty easy to plan a party for Haus Meister because the fall issue of Victoria arrives about two weeks before his birthday, and they usually dedicate that issue to Britain–meaning great recipes in the back. So what does a guy get out of something like Victoria? Well, starting in 2009 it was Beef Wellington and this year it was Classic British Pub Fare. Fish and Chips, made on our stove. This Ploughman’s Platter:

Or at least our take on it. With all the other sides we had so much food that I didn’t need to bring out the grapes and apples! And that’s not the Pullman loaf the recipe called for but instead a 10-grain cereal bread made with the latest addition to my kitchen arsenal–a Zojirushi bread machine that is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

For dessert I made a Bakewell tart, also from the magazine.

That thing was so good. It was gone by lunch the next day. Also pictured is the latest addition to our Wodehouse collection. I will easily wager we have at least 30 of these editions in our downstairs library. I should count that sometime. Anyway, Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves was one of the first Wodehouse books I ever read, Haus Meister having introduced me to these in college around the same time he introduced me to Tolkien. We’re glad that Overlook finally published this one.

Autumn Happy

I also spent part of our weekend pureeing some pumpkin that we’d picked up at the local farmer’s market. I saved about 8 cups of the orange goodness for pies and Thai cooking and bread.

I should add that I saved 8 cups after Haus Meister borrowed some for his homebrewed pumpkin beer, which would be ready next month.

Happy Funny & Real

Farm Boy received some much needed new boots….

….and wears them everywhere. This picture was taken at our local apple stand. They sell the best cider there. We’re regular customers from September through Christmas (when they close). In recent years they’ve opened in August but I hold off until my personal official First Day of Fall, which is always September 1st regardless of the actual equinox.

Oh, and someone likes to play hide and seek in the furniture.

Bonus Gratuitous LEGO picture

I found this guy on the floor the other day. Again, it’s one of those that I know there’s a story behind but I don’t know what that story is.

I do know that the dynamite came with part of the LEGO City Mine vehicles that Rascal received for his birthday. This fellow is probably about to be fired from the mine, I think….

Where ideas come from….

Once upon a time there was a house.  And in that house there was a Christmas tree, and under the tree was a little girl.  To be more specific, she was laying on her stomach on the floor in front of the tree, gazing at her mother’s collection of ceramic Christmas houses, imagining that if they were real, who would live in them?  What would their story be?

Then the little girl grew up.  She obtained a collection of Christmas village pieces of her own (incidentally, these pieces are now garaged as our fifth child is absolutely the most loving kid but nevertheless a human wrecking ball).  And one Christmas, five years ago, she looked at her newest piece and wondered who would own it?  What kind of person would own this tavern?

By the time I started writing, the image of the Pub rather changed a bit (diamond paned windows, the bar being on the right of the front door, green sign, etc.), but in case you’re wondering why there’s an Irish Pub in a Tudor building, there you have it! 😉


Two weeks before Joy went to editing I had a eureka moment with the plot.  Ironically, my husband’s homebrewing hobby ended up influencing me a lot more than I ever thought it would, and I don’t mean that I drink and write. That’s not how I work (I drink afterward, trying to get formats arranged for all the different self-publishing types.  Just teasing).  In any event, I found myself in that downtime when the kids’ school is done and before I had to start making dinner  researching the difference between nanobreweries and microbreweries and texting my husband regarding the same.

The next day my husband comes home from work with an article about a nanobrewery opening in our town.  As I was still revolving most of the ideas regarding that part of the story in my head at that moment, I nearly turned on him and asked him what in the world was TAKING him so long? Competition is already creeping into town–why doesn’t my husband get a MOVE on and open his dang brewery?!

Then I remembered which reality I’m truly in, and we had a huge laugh about it.

But it’s scary when that happens.